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Newb Bought Bower and Wilkins 703 S3 for Starting A Dolby Atmos Setup. Need advice (1 Viewer)


Apr 21, 2024
Real Name
I currently have a 3.1 Energy speaker setup driven by a Denon AVR S760H. I very much want to upgrade, and my end goal is to get some semblance of a Dolby Atmos setup. The room is 12 x 14. I went to Axpona and saw the SVS Home Theater demo and was blown away. I want to buy that set up but don't have the money right now, and want to piece my setup together.
The first advice I was given was that my receiver has to go. I was told to get an Arkham, Marantz Cinema 50, or Arcam AVR 11. Now on to the speaker part... I was told, don't get SVS speakers. Get KEF Q series or Polk. I went to best buy and listened to the Q950 and thought they were pretty good. They are 1,099.00 each. Of course I wasn't ready to pull the trigger and want to get more advice, listen more, and take my time. Well, a Best Buy person told me about some open box Bower and Wilkins 703 S3's and they told me it was the way to go, and this was an insane deal. I listened to the speakers and they sounded very good to me. I bought them because I'm under the impression that I essentially got the deal of a lifetime. I got the speakers for $1,250 each, when I was told they are normally $3,000.00 each. Should I keep them, or return them?

I very much want a 5.2.2 I'm thinking to add way down the road matching Bower and Wilkins speakers, if you all say to keep them. Then I need to decide on SVS or REL subs. I love the SVS, however the Best Buy rep said REL makes the best subs no questions.

I want to be all in around 7k. Any advice is very much appreciated.

(edited to get name of speakers I bought correct)
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Type A

HW Reviewer
Apr 7, 2007
Aurora Oregon
Real Name
Hey youre listening to your options and thats a wonderful thing! Youve had the benefit of auditioning and thats always the first advice. With your budget and ultimate goals I would stick to $500 a speaker, cause dual subs and avr will eat the rest. Never owned them, or even auditioned them, but given their reputation I would go all SVS. Stay all the same manufacture and preferably all the same model (though the latter is often impractical)...
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Bounded In a Nutshell
HW Reviewer
Senior HTF Member
Jun 20, 2000
A Mile High
Real Name
Honestly, if the B&Ws are in good working order, I would keep them. A matching center will be expensive, and could be something you work toward in the future. But for now, I'd try an ELAC UniFi center and see how it can match in. Yes, it's ideal to have matching speakers all around, but that B&W deal is just too good to sacrifice the rest of the system for budget reasons. If you like it, you can add UniFi surrounds.

Do you listen to much music?

As far as receivers, if you have no plans to go beyond 5.x.2, then there really is no need for a 9 channel capable model. So, if you really don't plan to go beyond 7 speaker channels, there's really no need to go with something like the Marantz Cinema 50. You can get a factory refurb of the Cinema 60 for $1,000, with full warranty, plus a five year extended warranty.

I also wouldn't jump right in with dual subs. My reasoning is that in most cases a single $1K sub is better than two $500 ones. I know REL is very popular in subs, but don't overlook SVS, and personally I've become a big fan of sealed subs. The SVS SB-3000 hits a very nice middle ground.

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